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Can Japanese Police Check Car Ownership Records?

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  • Can Japanese Police Check Car Ownership Records?

    (Disclaimer: I now know I am an idiot for not knowing/researching international license rules)

    I was stopped by the police after scratching the wall of a house (which I offered to pay for), and was told that even though my US license and int. license were valid, I could not use them since I have lived here over a year. I got this international license over the winter (2011) because I was going to get a car in the spring (2012).

    I have always used international licenses for driving here for years. Thought it was legal if both licenses are valid. Have never had a problem with authorities. No tickets or moving violations. Even with international license, got my two cars and insurance with no problem.

    My question is, do the police check up on your car ownership records? I have no criminal record, nor am I registered at the DMV, since I do not have a Japanese license. I gave the police my current car registration and international license, which they have on file. Is it in my best interest to admit to owning a car previously? I think the situation might escalate. Or will the police focus on the car I have now and not even care about past histories if there is no criminal record?

    Thank you for any advice.

  • #2
    Originally posted by JMan1 View Post
    (Disclaimer: I now know I am an idiot for not knowing/researching international license rules)

    I was stopped by the police after scratching the wall of a house (which I offered to pay for), and was told that even though my US license and int. license were valid, I could not use them since I have lived here over a year. I got this international license over the winter (2011) because I was going to get a car in the spring (2012).

    I have always used international licenses for driving here for years. Thought it was legal if both licenses are valid. Have never had a problem with authorities. No tickets or moving violations. Even with international license, got my two cars and insurance with no problem.

    My question is, do the police check up on your car ownership records? I have no criminal record, nor am I registered at the DMV, since I do not have a Japanese license. I gave the police my current car registration and international license, which they have on file. Is it in my best interest to admit to owning a car previously? I think the situation might escalate. Or will the police focus on the car I have now and not even care about past histories if there is no criminal record?

    Thank you for any advice.
    I do not know - but will guess - that they do not care if you owned a car - just whether or not you drive. Anyone can own a car - even unlicensed people, since it is just an object. Losing a license does not mean that you must sell a car. etc

    So if you were never ticketed in the past - my best guess is that they have you on one violation only.

    I would apologize profusely, claim ignorance, and go get a Japanese license.
    Last edited by TJrandom; 2012-06-27, 05:11 PM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Do as random instructs. Get your Japanese license ASAP. Don't continue to drive without one but don't admit to anything unless asked directly.

      You realize that by driving on an invalid IDP that you're NOT insured? Any accidents and the insurance company would deny responsibility and you'd be sued for damages. The fuzz have done you AND the rest of us a favor - no offence!



      --

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      • #4
        Originally posted by TJrandom View Post
        I do not know - but will guess - that they do not care if you owned a car - just whether or not you drive. Anyone can own a car - even unlicensed people, since it is just an object. Losing a license does not mean that you must sell a car. etc

        So if you were never ticketed in the past - my best guess is that they have you on one violation only.

        I would apologize profusely, claim ignorance, and go get a Japanese license.
        True. ownership means nothing. You could technically put a car in a child's name as long as you can get a stamp certificate.

        True. Apologizing goes a long way.

        Originally posted by mr.sumo.snr View Post
        Do as random instructs. Get your Japanese license ASAP. Don't continue to drive without one but don't admit to anything unless asked directly.

        You realize that by driving on an invalid IDP that you're NOT insured? Any accidents and the insurance company would deny responsibility and you'd be sued for damages. The fuzz have done you AND the rest of us a favor - no offence!

        --
        False. Do not get your license because you can't. If you got stopped for anything and they found out you haven't got a valid license, you will immediately receive a 6 month probation. You cannot get your license. I've been down the same road as you. It's total BS, but so is a lot of stuff in Japan.

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        • #5
          TJ, sumo, hml, thank you for your honest insight. I got a call from the police today and they want me to go in to talk tomorrow for a few hours. Then, they want to talk another time after that (about what, I don't know).

          I really had no idea about the severity of it all. A fine/probation is something that I will live with, if that is the case. hml, you mentioned that you were in a similar situation. Could you offer any more details?

          Thanks again. I will write more about what happens later, if anyone is interested.

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          • #6
            X-tra info

            Check this story out for further links,ok?
            http://www.japantoday.com/category/l...gally-in-japan

            Comment


            • #7
              Go get the license conversion documents right away, preferably in the morning before you go for tea and crumpets. That way you can reasonably plead ignorance and show that you are moving rapidly to remedy the situation. Getting a lawyer might be a good idea too.

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              • #8
                The one year limitation is clearly mentioned on JAF, Embassy and other motoring related websites, as well as motoring handbooks.
                It has been the law since around 2001.

                Get ready to apologize profusely for being ignorant....you might get away with it; and get your license transfer paperwork in asap...

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by hml View Post
                  False. Do not get your license because you can't. If you got stopped for anything and they found out you haven't got a valid license, you will immediately receive a 6 month probation. You cannot get your license. I've been down the same road as you. It's total BS, but so is a lot of stuff in Japan.
                  Are you saying that no matter what the OP does he cannot now apply for a Japanese driver's license?

                  How did you overcome the situation - or didn't you?

                  --

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by trip_hop View Post
                    The one year limitation is clearly mentioned on JAF, Embassy and other motoring related websites, as well as motoring handbooks.
                    It has been the law since around 2001.
                    It was big news on all the teacher forums at the time - UKlanders and I think Australians and New Zealanders (holding valid licenses) had it easy and we only had to take eye tests and do paperwork. It was all JETs and other AETs could talk about for a while. I had to give up riding motorbikes because of the rule changes (not having any sort of UK motorcycle license...whoops!)

                    --

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by mr.sumo.snr View Post
                      Are you saying that no matter what the OP does he cannot now apply for a Japanese driver's license?

                      How did you overcome the situation - or didn't you?

                      --
                      I did overcome it. After 6 months.

                      OP will be prevented from driving (legally) for 6 months.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by hml View Post
                        I did overcome it. After 6 months.

                        OP will be prevented from driving (legally) for 6 months.
                        Interesting... Do you remember how they did that? Since you had no current license to suspend... presumably they "pre-suspended" your future license?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by TJrandom View Post
                          Interesting... Do you remember how they did that? Since you had no current license to suspend... presumably they "pre-suspended" your future license?
                          I could not apply for the driving test during that period.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Spoke with the police for about two hours today. They asked about everything, including my hobbies and how I would describe myself. They seemed to be most interested in the times that I left the country to go back to America (at least once a year). I had to keep flipping through my passport to get the exact dates.

                            The guy in charge said he wants me to come back in after he has time to type it all up and after immigration sends them a list of the times I left the country and for how long. They explained the three-month rule in detail, but were pretty decent about it. Overall, it was tiring to sit there for two hours, but there were no raised voices or accusations flying around. Like people said, if you show remorse and are serious, they take it at face value and the process goes more smoothly.

                            Thanks again for your guys help. I will post more later on.

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